Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Booze in my flagon: Absolut Ruby Red vodka and sparkling water
Chapters: Jon XII, Sansa VII, Epilogue
Before I get to recapping, a little programming note. Now that I’m going to be moving on to Feast and Dance, I wanted to do a combined book reading order instead of tackling one at a time. It just makes more sense since I take so absurdly long to update. It could be a year before I get to Dance and I don’t think I can go that long recapping ASOIAF and not having the pleasure of poking fun at emo Jon. I will be using Boiled Leather reading order. I’m also going to label all the chapters the same way the first three books do, instead of using the titles like “Cat of the Canals” just for ease and continuity. There are also some ultra long chapters so I may more often stray from the usual three chapter per post formula.
On with the show!
Back to the saga of election night whatever-the-hell-year-it-is-in-Westeros-right-now. Hopefully it goes better than election night 2016 here on earth.
Oh. Never mind. First we get a kind of homoerotic description of Iron Emmett. The sexiest and best swordfighter since Arthur Dayne and the pride of Eastwatch or something. Jon likes to spar with him to keep sharp and get some bruises that hurt in the good way. Usually Jon does all right, but he’s been too emo to sleep properly and is tired. So today he really gets pounded. Jon eventually gets knocked out and dreams that it’s Robb in the practice yard with him. Even I’m not going to turn that one into a dirty joke. He remembers during one of him and Robb’s childhood sparring sessions that Robb told him he was a bastard and can’t ever be Lord of Winterfell. This causes Jon to go into a sleepwalking Hulk smash mode and he has to be pulled off of Iron Emmett. Emmett jokes that now he knows how Qhorin Halfhand must’ve felt and Jon flounces off to emo in the armory.
He’s angry because he feels guilty. He remembers Catelyn’s disapproving visage and compares it to Stannis’ mug. He takes a nice bath and mulls over Stannis’ offer some more. He wants to do it, but feels he has no right and it’s not his place. He snaps out of it when he overhears Alliser Thorne and Bowen Marsh talking about the election. They fear the wrath of Tywin (not knowing yet that he’s dead on a toilet) and note that he favors Janos Slynt. Jon takes a walk on the other side of the Wall to navel gaze some more. He realizes that if Janos wins, he’ll hang Jon as an oathbreaker. He also realizes that even though he was in denial about it, he’s always wanted to be Lord of Winterfell. Then he starts craving freshly killed elk.
Wait. What!? Ghost shows up out of nowhere. That’s why he started thinking wolf thoughts. He looks at Ghost and thinks about how he’s the only albino and has red eyes like a weirwood tree and it’s then he has his answer. He’s not sharing it yet though.
Back at Castle Black, all of Stannis’ men are freaked out by Ghost. He sees Val in the tower and thinks he’s not going to be the one to steal her out of there. I guess that means he’s saying no.
When he goes inside, he hears chaos and yelling. When they see Jon, Janos starts ranting about how Jon is a warg and a beastling and not fit to lead them or even fit to live. That’s when Maester Aemon tells Jon that his name has been put forth for Lord Commander. He thinks it’s a joke of Pyp’s but Dolorous Edd said that he is the one who nominated him. Janos is still ranting and demanding that Jon be hanged immediately. Cotter Pyke tells him that unlike the Gold Cloaks, nobody is going to lick his bloody arse so he’d best take a seat. Mallister is a little more diplomatic and says that any brother is eligible as long as he’s said his vows.
There’s more chaos and yelling until Alliser calls for a vote. He says that Stannis’ men won’t let them leave until they come to a decision. He says that Othell Yarwyck wants to say something. He withdraws from the race. Alliser tries to lead him to endorse Slynt, but he refuses to endorse anyone. Then Sam and Clydas get out a kettle. Mormont’s raven bursts out of it and says “Snow, snow, snow.” Alliser laughs and tries to point out that all the ravens know that word. But voters love gimmicks and Jon wins the race!
Cotter Pyke tells Jon that if he mucks this up, he’s going to rip his liver out and eat it raw with onions.
Jon, still stunned takes a skin of wine and goes to talk things over with Stannis.
Sansa wakes up from a dream that she was home. She has to remind herself that now she is Alayne Stone, a bastard girl and the Eyrie is home. It’s boring and depressing there because Lysa keeps a small household and doesn’t allow guests too often. Her only friend is her cousin Robert AKA Robin and he’s not much fun. She also keeps getting leered at by the singer Marillion. Lysa has the hots for Marillion so she’s pretty annoyed and jealous about that. Littlefinger is also constantly away meeting with the lords of the Vale and so Lysa is sexually frustrated and lonely. Things are politically unstable in the Vale right now. They don’t like that LF is now Lord Protector of the Vale and the Royces are mad that Lysa didn’t back Robb.
Sansa gets out of bed, opens the shutters and sees that it is snowing. The snow reminds her of home and how happy she used to be. She goes outside to further reminisce and starts building a snow castle. As she works, the castle starts turning into Winterfell.
She’s at it for so long that everyone comes and goes from the balcony to watch her. She is trying and failing to build the bridges when LF lurks up behind her to suggest that she packs the snow around a stick. He asks her if he can come into her castle.
He walks around the castle and says he always pictured it as perpetually cold and dark. She told him that no, there are hot springs that pipe water through the walls so it’s always warm. The presence of hot springs makes me think of seismic activity and that makes me wonder if there’s a dragonglass stash down in the crypts somewhere.
Littlefinger continues to help Sansa and act like a dirty old man. Until finally he kisses her. Luckily, the child molestation is broken up by Robert who runs outside to look at the snow castle. He’s carrying a stuffed doll and proclaims the doll to be a giant come to destroy the castle. He swings the doll around and knocks down the castle. Sansa grabs the doll and it rips apart. Robert throws a tantrum, the tantrum turns to a seizure and he flails on the castle and breaks the whole thing.
The maester, Colemon comes along to take him to be leached, because they think it’s bad blood making him angry. Robert is ranting about how much he hates Sansa. Sansa puts the doll’s head on a stick and pushes down on the ruins of snow Winterfell and returns to her bedchamber to wonder if Lysa will kick her out.
Later in the afternoon, Lysa finally sends Marillion to fetch her. Rumor has it that Marillion has sexually harassed all the maids in Eyrie but Lysa doesn’t give a shit. Sansa tries to go to the High Hall without Marillion, but he insists that Lysa wants him to bring her.
Once in the hall, Lysa wastes no time in informing her that she saw the kiss. Sansa tried to protest that he’s the one who kissed her, but she doesn’t believe her. She starts ranting about how Catelyn used to tease him and how Cat and Sansa are both trying to entice Petyr. She reveals that she lost her virginity to him but he was drunk and called her “Cat” Ouch. It turns out that Lysa was married off to an old man like Jon Arryn because he was willing to take her even though she was all soiled.
Lysa drags Sansa over to the moon door. Lysa is shoving her towards the opening when Littlefinger interrupts. Lysa is distracted enough for Sansa to break free from her grip. LF tries to calm her down, but she keeps ranting. Then comes the big reveal. That on Littlefinger’s request, Lysa was the one who poisoned Jon Arryn. That’s right. All along, it was Lysa. Not Cersei. The whole war was basically started by Littlefinger’s scheming. He was also the one who told Lysa to send Cat that letter blaming the Lannisters.
Littlefinger finally soothes her and convinces her to let Sansa go. He takes her in his arms, says he’s only ever loved one woman “Only Cat” and pushes Lysa out the moon door!
Then he calls the guards in and blames it all on Marillion.
There’s an epilogue? This should be good…
The narrator of this chapter is Merrett Frey. One of Walder Frey’s many sons. He’s an alcoholic due to an old head injury fighting outlaws that gives him crippling headaches he must self medicate. That’s about his only distinction. The Brotherhood Without Banners is holding another Frey, named Petyr for ransom and Merrett is bringing the money to meet them. Did the BWB insist that he go alone? Because it really seems like a bad idea.
Merrett is paranoid the whole way to Oldstones, where the exchange is to happen. Merrett reflects on how as much of an asshole as Walder is, things could get a whole lot worse when he dies and the family starts infighting over the inheritance. Merrett whines for some time about his lifelong bad long. I won’t recount it all because who cares if a Frey is miserable? I’ll say he leaves Jon’s emoing in the dust by a lot though!
Finally he gets to the ruins of Oldstones. At first he sees no outlaws, but he hears music inside the tree covered ruins and goes to investigate. He finds a singer with a harp. It’s Tom O’Sevens. Then he hears a voice behind him asking if he brought the gold. He turns around to find that he’s surrounded. All of them men except one woman who is so bundled up that he can’t see her face. They take the gold and tell him that Petyr is in the Godswood. They lead him away.
They get to the Godswood and there Petyr Pimple is hung dead. Then the BWB put a noose around Merrett’s neck too. They tell him if he answers one question, they’ll let him go. They ask him if he’s seen the Hound and the skinny child he was with (Arya) but of course, he cannot answer. Merrett starts begging and that’s when the outlaws make it clear that they’re doing this in retribution for the Red Wedding. In desperation he says that he didn’t plan the RW, and they have no witnesses to prove his responsibility in it. That’s when Tom says that isn’t true and calls the woman forward.
The woman takes off her hood and it’s
wait for it
wait for it
wait for it
Catelyn fucking Stark! Well, the zombie version anyway. Her skin is waterlogged and her face is cut up and her hair is white. She can’t speak because her throat is too severed, but she nods to indicated that Merrett was at the RW and the BWB hang him. Too bad so sad.
Deaths in this recap: 3. Lysa, Petyr Pimple, Merrett Frey
Cumulative deaths: 152
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 13
Betrayals in this recap: 2. Littlefinger kills Lysa. The reveal that Lysa killed Jon Arryn and lied to Cat about it, starting the war.
Cumulative betrayals: 41
Incest incidents: 0
Cumulative incests: 28
Book I am reading: A Storm of Swords
Booze in my flagon: Pinot noir
Chapters: Jon XI, Tyrion XI, Sam V
Jon is training Satin in the yard when Melisandre and some of the queen’s men come lurking and looming up behind him. Jon digs redheads, so he starts getting some pants stirrings but her red eyes kind of unsettle him and that tames his boner enough for him to be able to carry on a civilized conversation. Plus, she’s there to tell him that Stannis wants to speak to him and speaking to Stannis is the equivalent of a cold shower. Jon has stank from sweating inside his armor so he wants to change first and they agree to meet atop the Wall.
Jon and Mel take the lift up to the Wall. The Wall is weeping (it has ice melting off it) so either winter isn’t here just yet or Mel’s fire crotch is especially firey today. Jon thinks about how she smells red and is kissed by fire, like Ygritte. I guess the red eyes and creepy religious fanaticism aren’t such a boner killer after all. He asks if she’s cold because all she’s wearing is her usual red robe. She says she’s never cold, only death is cold and puts his hand on her cheek, asking him to feel the Lord’s fire within her. Is that what the kids are calling it these days?
Stannis is alone and brooding at the edge of the Wall. Of course he is. Jon observes that Stannis’ eyes look like bottomless blue pools. Huh. Maybe he’s not such a cold shower. Jon just seems to fancy everybody lately. Or maybe I’ve just got a dirty mind. That’s always a possibility. Jon kneels and Stannis tells him to rise.
Stannis tells Jon that he’s heard a lot about him. Jon gets all self deprecating and lists off all the bad things anyone has ever said about him. Stannis asks how much of it is true and Jon is honest with. Stannis said he believes him because he knew both Janos Slynt and Ned Stark and even though he didn’t like Ned, he knows he was honorable and Jon has a similar look. I guess it goes without saying that Janos is total cockwomble and nobody believes anything he has to say.
Stannis keeps trying to compliment Jon on things like finding the dragonglass used to slay the White Walker and holding the Wall until his forces could get there. But Jon is as insecure as Sam would be in a high school locker room today and he keeps deflecting the praise. It’s almost like GRRM is trying to prove that whole axiom about how those who don’t want power are the only ones fit to have it. Hmm…
Stannis asks Jon if any of the wildlings have any honor. He says that Mance does but Rattleshirt does not. He says Tormund would make a good friend and a bad enemy. Har! Then Stannis asks if Jon has honor and courage. Jon wonders if Stannis wants to tell him he loves him. Um…
Okay. What am I, ovulating or something? I really need to get my mind out of the gutter. No promises though!
Anyway, Jon just awkwardly tells him that he’s a man of the Night’s Watch and Stannis says that “words are wind.” A phrase we’ll be hearing a lot more when I get to ADWD. Stannis said that Davos reminded him that instead of trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, he should be trying to save the kingdom to win the throne. He says the north is where he’ll find the foe he was born to fight. Melisandre, the champion lurker finally pipes up to say that his name may not be spoken and the shapes in the snow are his creatures. Stannis wants Jon’s help in this war. He says he needs the north. Jon stammers that Robb was King in the North and Stannis says he would be alive today if he didn’t go gallivanting around the Riverlands and marrying non-Frey girls.
Wrong thing to say, Stanny boy. Jon gets all indignant at that. Although I have to say, Stannis has a point here. Robb is so overrated. Super hot in the TV show, but let’s face it, lots of blunders.
Stannis, not understanding his blunder tells Jon he wants to make him the Lord of Winterfell. As a king, he has the power to debastardize him. Jon tries to pretend he doesn’t want this, but he totally does. He’s dreamed about all his life. Yet he swore his NW vows at a heart tree and he knows that breaking the vows means turning against his father’s gods.
Stannis not only wants to make Jon Lord of Winterfell, he wants to let the wildlings through the Wall in exchange for their loyalty to Stannis. He thinks the living need to work together to beat Sauron, or whatever the dark lord’s name is. He wants to wed the new Lord, Jon Stark to Val. He calls Val a wildling princess. That’s kind of like when white people claim to be descended from a Cherokee princess. For all his good ideas here, he doesn’t get Wildling culture at all. He can only see it from his own culture’s viewpoint. Jon straight up laughs at him and says that he has a lot to learn about wildling women. Stannis says that this marriage alliance is part of the price for making him Lord of Winterfell. Jon wants to think on it.
Tyrion is in his cell getting ready to die. Hope is lost. So you know something is about to happen. He hears the cell door come upon. Surprise! It’s Jaime. This is their first time together since the beginning of the first book. They joke about Jaime’s loss of his hand and Tyrion’s loss of nose. Handless & Noseless, my new indie rock band name.
Tyrion asks Jaime if he’s there to kill him. Jaime says the plan is to behead him on the tourney grounds tomorrow but he’s going to rescue him instead. It turns out that Varys is his accomplice. Varys roofied all the guards so they’d be passed out cold. Jaime says that Varys will take him by ship to the Free Cities and see that he has enough money to live but that he should take an alias because Cersei will probably send men to look for him.
In a rare moment of sincere gratitude, Tyrion thanks him for saving his life. Jaime says he’s paying a debt and well, say it with me
Tyrion is confused. Jaime says that some doors are best left closed, but he wimps out and confesses after very little prodding. It seems that Tysha, Tyrion’s first wife was never really a whore. She was really just a crofter’s daughter and she really actually loved Tyrion. So, she was some poor innocent girl who was gang raped by Lannister soldiers and oh by the way, this story is told to make us pity Tyrion and his sad self image and dating insecurities. Not, you know, Tysha for being gang raped to teach someone else a lesson. Does this count as fridging even though she didn’t die? Am I the only one who wants Tysha to steal one of Dany’s dragons and set fire to all of Westeros in vengeance right now?
Ok. Deep breaths.
Anyway, Tyrion is obviously pretty pissed off. He slaps Jaime and storms off. Well, waddles off. The storming off is a big fail as he hits an iron gate and has to have Jaime open the door. Tyrion asks Jaime if he can fight left handed. Jaime says that no, he’s no Ned Flanders and Tyrion taking the keys says they might be well matched if they meet again. Jaime then asks if he really did kill Joffrey and Tyrion gets even more into a snit. He tells Jaime that Cersei is a lying whore who has been fucking Lancel, Osmund Kettleblack and even Moon Boy for all he knows. He says he did kill Joffrey even though we all know he didn’t.
Jaime walks away and Tyrion goes to find Varys. It’s a day for lurkers, for he too is lurking creepily in the dark. They exchange some shade and then proceed on. Varys leads him through all sorts of secret passage. They eventually go to the dragon skull chamber under the Tower of the Hand. Varys says they can go out to the river from here. But Tyrion wants to make a little stop. He wants to visit the Hand’s bedchamber which Tywin currently occupies.
He climbs for a while and finally emerges in the fireplace of Tywin’s chambers. He hears a woman’s voice call out “M’lord?” Who is it? Why it’s Shay! Turns out that Tywin is a giant hypocrite. Who’d have ever thought? Shae’s naked except for Tywin’s hand of the king necklace. Tyrion says some Nice Guy type of things and strangles her with the necklace. Not quite sure how he did that so easily. I guess because he wept while killing her it’s supposed to be sympathetic or something. Idk.
After that little crime of passion is completed he takes Twyin’s dagger off the bedside table. Then he finds a crossbow that’s hanging on the wall and takes that. He finds Tywin where he knew he’d find him. On the toilet. Does that mean that Tywin suffers from IBS? Twyin acts all casual about Tyrion just appearing in the bathroom with a crossbow. He tells Tyrion to put down the crossbow and Tyrion asks about Tysha. Tywin refers to Tysha as Tyrions first whore. Tyrion said if Tywin says that word again, he’ll kill him. Tywin does not believe him and says he sent Tysha away. Tyrion asks where and Tywin answers “wherever whores go.” That’s another phrase we’ll be hearing waaaay too much in ADWD.
Since Tywin said the magic word, Tyrion shoots him. Right in the gut. As he died, his bowels let loose, proving that Tywin does not actually shit gold.
Stannis is in a bad mood. Melisandre is full of mirth. It’s some sort of meeting with the candidates for Lord Commander. That’s nothing, Stannis. What if these were the candidates you had to talk to?
Sam is just there to help Maester Aemon and feels all awkward.
Janos tries to suck up. Stannis is not having it. He states how displeased he is that a LC has not been chose yet. Janos uses this opportunity and tries to weasel an endorsement out of Stannis. Stannis is not having that either. He tells them all what a corrupt asshole Janos Slynt was as leader of the gold cloaks. Damn it, GRRM. Stop making me love Stannis when we now know what you’re going to do to your awesome daughter! Janos’ jowls quiver. That is the best sentence I’ve written in my entire life. Jowls are funny.
Whatever good will Stannis incurs, he as usual squanders by demanding that the NW give him all the land in the Gift and the abandoned castles. He also says he means to light the Nightfires of the Lord of Light religion in front of all those castles. Mel swoops in to preach R’hllor’s word but the NW men are dubious.
Stannis says they were the ones who summoned him so they best get used him. He dismisses everyone but Mel, Aemon and Sam. This causes Sam to just about shit himself with fear.
Stannis declares that Sam is not very like his father Randyll and then asks all about the White Walker slaying and the Black Gate below the Nightfort. Stannis wants to make the Nightfort his new HQ.
Aemon asks Stannis to take out Lightbringer and has Sam describe it. Sam says it glows. Aemon and Sam are dismissed and Aemon remarks to Sam that he felt no heat from the sword. He has Sam confirm that it looks but does not feel hot. In other words,
Sam asks Maester Aemon if there’s something he could do to keep Janos from winning. Aemon says no because his job is to serve the LC and it wouldn’t be proper. But Sam asks if there’s something he could do. Aemon coyly says “why I don’t know, Samwell. Could you?” Sam is super nervous but knows he has to do what he’s got to do.
He goes to Cotter Pyke first. Pyke anticipates that Sam will be asking him to withdraw and he isn’t into it. Being an Iron Islands bastard, he’s downright hostile. But for once, Sam will not be deterred. He goes to see Denys Mallister. Mallister is much nicer, but still will not agree to drop out. Sam suggests Jon and then in desperation lies and says that if they don’t choose an LC tonight, Stannis will name Cotter Pyke. Denys says he’ll think about it and Sam promptly craps his pants again. But he steals his nerves and goes back to Cotter Pyke to suggest Jon and tell him that Stannis will force Denys on them if they don’t choose an LC tonight. You go, Sam the Slayer!
Deaths in this recap: 2. Tywin and Shae
Cumulative deaths: 149
Maybe deaths in this recap: 0
Cumulative maybe deaths: 13
Betrayals in this recap: 3. All in one chapter! Jaime reveals that he lied about Tysha, Shae is sleeping with Tywin, Tyrion kills his father and his gf all in one night.
Cumulative betrayals: 39
Incest incidents: 0
Cumulative incests: 28